By Michelle Bailey
If you are a parent or a guardian of a child who goes to school in Manitoba, you are likely aware that students and staff rehearse how to react if there’s a fire or lockdown. However, there is a third procedure they have to follow. It’s called hold and secure and it differs from a lockdown.
Apparently, not many parents have ever heard of this third procedure.
Recently, there was a hold and secure at College Beliveau in Windsor Park. Parents received an email about it the following day. A mysterious package had been reported under a vehicle in the parking lot.
Some parents read this email and had two thoughts; a) what is a hold and secure situation and b) why am I finding out about it a day after the fact?
The following day, there was a hold and secure at Glenlawn Collegiate, which is in the same division as Beliveau. Many parents learned about that one on Twitter when a local TV station went to social media about it.
According to a statement provided by the Province of Manitoba, “School lockdowns and a hold and secure respond to different situations. School lockdowns are the restriction of movement of students and staff due to a threat of violence within or in relation to the school. Hold and secure is used when it is desirable to secure the school due to an emergency situation occurring outside and not related to the school.In this situation, all exterior doors are locked and monitored, to allow any students from outside to enter, but the doors should otherwise remain locked. Classes may continue to function normally.”
The policies and procedures for these situations are not the same province wide. In fact, even within divisions, schools are allowed to create their own policies.
“Every school and division in the province is unique, therefore it makes sense for each one to have the discretion to respond to situations as they see fit,” said Mary Hall, Director of Safe Schools Manitoba.
It is highly recommended that parents and guardians familiarize themselves with the plan the school every child attends has in place. And to be sure their children know about it too.